Police in Kandal province on Monday arrested a man transporting two women on their way to marry unidentified men in Australia and are now searching for the alleged broker, who remains at large.
Provincial police chief Eav Chamroeun said Roeum Run, 44, was arrested for alleged human trafficking while traveling in a taxi with the two women along National Road 5 toward Phnom Penh after his officers were tipped off by an anonymous source.
Khsach Kandal district police chief Bun Yong said two women, aged 17 and 19, were to have their photos taken and passports prepared before flying to Australia, where, according to Mr. Run, they were to meet men who had promised to pay $600 each to arrange for their arrival.
He said the women were persuaded to marry Australian men they did not know by a broker in Kompong Cham province identified only as Ms. Ry, whom Mr. Run knew through his wife.
He said Mr. Run was still being questioned and would be sent to the provincial court on Thursday. Ms. Ry evaded arrest, however, and police have not yet decided whether to arrest Mr. Run’s wife, who may have been involved.
“Mr. Run told police that the victims agreed to marry the Australian men and he was arrested while taking them to the passport department in Phnom Penh,” Mr. Yong said. “They are rural women and they were cheated.”
He said he did not yet know anything about the Australian men who were allegedly planning to marry the women and that the women would be sent to an NGO for counseling before returning home.